"The voice of the Compassionate One is upon the waters, the God of Glory thunders; the Compassionate One is upon vast waters." (Psalm 29:3)
The voice of the Compassionate One upon the spiritual waters can be a loving and gentle voice. For example, the Compassionate One appointed Jeremiah to be a prophet that would call upon our people to return to the life-giving waters of Torah, and his prophecy began with this loving, Divine message:
"Thus said the Compassionate One: I recall for you the lovingkindness of your youth, the love of your bridal state, when you followed Me into the wilderness, into an unsown land. Israel is holy to the Compassionate One, the first of His harvest" (Jeremiah 2:2,3).
The voice of the Compassionate One can also be heard as a strong and thundering voice, as the Song of the Fish proclaims, "the God of glory thunders." When there were hardened and stubborn people who did not respond to the gentle Divine voice, the prophets began to proclaim the Divine message in a different manner. For example, when Isaiah addressed the wealthy ruling class that had abandoned the spiritual waters of Torah and that were oppressing the poor, he proclaimed in a voice of thunder, "Hear the word of the Compassionate One, O chiefs of Sodom!" (Isaiah 1:10).
When most of the people refused to listen to the prophets, the Temple was destroyed, and the exile began. During this period of suffering, the prophets once again conveyed the words of the Compassionate One in a gentle and loving manner. For example, the Prophet Jeremiah proclaimed to our suffering people: "The Lovingkindness of the Compassionate One surely has not ended, nor are His mercies exhausted. They are new every morning" (Lamentations 3:22,23).
Those of this generation who aspire to be Jewish teachers and leaders need to remember that our painful exile is not over. They therefore need to speak to our people in a gentle and loving voice. In this way, they will enable us to hear the voice of the Compassionate One upon the vast waters.